June 08, 2019
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo rejected the allegation by 11 UN special rapporteurs that there had been “a sharp deterioration in the situation of human rights across the country” since Mr Duterte became president in 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS
MANILA (DPA) – The Philippine government on Saturday (June 8) assailed UN human rights experts for their “unpardonable intrusions” into the country’s sovereignty after they called for an investigation into alleged abuses under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo rejected the allegation by 11 UN special rapporteurs that there had been “a sharp deterioration in the situation of human rights across the country” since Mr Duterte became president in 2016.
The rapporteurs said on Friday it was time for the UN Human Rights Council to take action against “sustained attacks on people and institutions defending human rights” in the Philippines because the government has failed to address the issue.
But Mr Panelo stressed that the Philippines was a “working vibrant democracy” and institutions were able to exercise their duties under the Constitution.
“The 11 UN special rapporteurs’ act of peddling a biased and absolutely false recital of facts, adulterated with malicious imputations against the constituted authorities, smacks of unpardonable intrusions on our sovereignty,” he said.
Since 2016, more than 5,000 suspected drug pushers and addicts have been killed in police operations under the government’s aggressive campaign against illegal drugs in the Philippines, according to official statistics.
But Mr Panelo said Mr Duterte’s war on drugs was “pursuant to the primary duty of the state to preserve and protect the people”.
“Law enforcement authorities operate on strict protocols. Any deviation from it is met with the unyielding strong arm of the law with no transgressors immune from it,” he said.